Author’s note: The following is a series of Jakotsu-centric challenge fics written from a list my dear friend and writing partner, Vega-chan, came up with for me. It’s is based on Killa Kay’s awesome collection of Gravitation short stories called “A to Z.” (You can find them in my favorite stories section.) Due to the nature of the word given, they can either be what I call “canon timeline” which is set before their first deaths or AU which is set in modern times and will be set in the “world” I created in my story, “Homecoming.”
“O” is for Opposite
Bankotsu chuckled softly as the little drama unfolded before him. Holding out his sake cup, he looked up at Suikotsu and grinned.
Suikotsu smiled as he filled it.
“They’re at it again.”
“Yeah, but that’s because they’re opposites.”
“I know,” Bankotsu said. “It turned out to be an unexpected bonus.”
“How so?” Suikotsu asked.
“Well, look at them. Whenever Jak gets bored, he picks a fight with Ren and always about the stupidest things too.”
“True, but that would have happened sooner or later and not because Jak’s bored. They’re bound to have differences of opinions, simply because of their natures. Ren’s very serious and reserved and Jak’s more carefree and frivolous.”
“Don’t forget Jak’s flirtatious.”
Suikotsu chuckled. “There’s that and well, Ren’s rather shy when it comes to expressing those feelings.”
“Which makes it all the more funny when Jak flirts with him.” Bankotsu laughed.
“That doesn’t bother you?”
Bankotsu sipped his sake. “No, because I know he doesn’t mean it. Why? It bother you?”
Suikotsu thought it over. “Actually it does, even though I also know Jak doesn’t mean it. It’s just that I feel badly for Ren because it bothers him a lot.”
“I’ll talk to him about it, okay?”
“Thanks, Oo-Aniki,” Suikotsu said. “More?” The claw-bearer picked up the sake flask.
“You’re welcome.” He drained his cup and held it out. “Thanks...”
Suikotsu nodded. He was about to say something when the argument got louder.
“I’m not an idiot, Ren, I know why gunpowder explodes.”
“You do, do you?” Renkotsu said dryly. “And please, Jak, enlighten me.” The fire-breather neatly folded his arms across his chest as he waited for answer. “You know, tell me why it explodes.”
Bankotsu chuckled. “This ought to be a good one.”
“Yes,” Suikotsu said with a smile.
“Ummm... It does when you ummm...” The cross-dresser blinked a few times as he thought about it. “Ummm...”
“I’m waiting...” Renkotsu said smugly.
“I can’t think with you staring at me like that!”
“Fine...” The fire-breather shrugged and looked away.
“Ummm... the stuff explodes cuz...ummm...You make it do that!” Jakotsu said as if that was the correct answer.
“Yes,” Renkotsu drawled. “But how do I do that?”
“You use your fire stuff.”
“He’s got you there, Ren, you do light things on fire and they explode,” Bankotsu called out.
“See,” Jakotsu said smugly, “Even Aniki-chan knows I’m right.”
“Uh, yeah...” the fire-breather said dryly.
“You see I’m not stupid, Ren.”
Renkotsu looked over at the cross-dresser and let out a long suffering sigh. “No, I guess not.”
Jakotsu sat up and wiped the sweat from his brow. “Hey, Sui, why does Ren always act like he’s got some stick up his ass?”
The claw-bearer looked up at him as he put the weed he had just pulled into the basket. “Ren doesn’t have a stick up his ass, Jak,” he said patiently.
“I know, Sui, but why does he act like that all the time. Like he knows everything and the rest of us are so stupid.”
“Careful, Jak, that’s a medicinal herb.”
“Oh...” The cross-dresser looked down at the weed he was pulling and saw the claw-bearer was right. “Sorry....”
Suikotsu nodded. “Well to answer your question, Ren’s not as carefree as you are. And he takes pride in his education. I know you didn’t have the same opportunities he had, but that doesn’t mean you’re stupid and Ren knows that too. I just think it’s because he’s not as comfortable around people as you are, and he also has trouble expressing himself which doesn’t help.”
The cross-dresser nodded.
“You two have trouble getting along, I think, because you’re opposites.”
“Yeah...?” Jakotsu blinked.
“Yeah. You know how the night and the day are opposite and how wet and dry are opposites, for example. Well, people can be opposites too in how they act.” Suikotsu smiled ruefully. “I’m opposites, when you think about it.”
Jakotsu frowned and then it hit him. “Good Sui and Scary Sui!!”
“Yup. Good Sui is very timid and Scary Sui is beyond brave. One wants to save people and the other wants to destroy them,” the claw-bearer said softly.
“Oh...” The cross-dresser nodded.
“And you and Oo-Aniki are opposites too.”
“Yes you are, you’re tall and pale, and Oo-Aniki is short and dark.”
Jakotsu giggled. “My eyes are dark and his are light!”
The claw-bearer nodded. “And you and Mu are opposites too,” Suikotsu said with a smile. He pulled a few nearby weeds and put them in the basket.
“Yeah! I’m taller than he is, well, everyone is taller than him especially Kyo!” he giggled. “And I’m pretty and he’s-”
“Jak, that’s not what I meant.”
“He likes women-”
“And I like men!”
Jakotsu giggled as he pulled a few weeds and put them in Suikotsu’s basket.
“You see, being opposites isn’t a bad thing.”
“Yeah... So I should try harder to get along with Ren, hunh?”
“I think so. And now that you know you’re opposites and that it’s not a bad thing, perhaps you can learn to be a bit more like Ren in some things as that would make him happy,” Suikotsu said in the same patient tones a parent would use on their child.
“Well, if he could be a bit more like me that would make me happy too,” Jakotsu said petulantly.
“I’ll tell him you’re going to try and that he should too.”
“Thanks, Sui. I do like Ren and not only to tease,” Jakotsu giggled, “even though I do find that fun.” He grew more serious. “But he’s really smart and he knows stuff that I never even heard of.” The cross-dresser sighed. “I just wish he didn’t make me feel so stupid.”
“I’m sorry you feel like that, but I don’t think that Ren really wants you to feel that way. Besides, I bet there are things you know that Ren’s probably never heard of.”
“Yeah... Ren’s life was sheltered compared to yours. You got to meet a wide variety of people, some good, some bad, and you learned about things in the bathhouse that most people don’t know.”
Jakotsu blinked. “Yeah... and I could teach them to Ren if he wants.”
Suikotsu laughed. “Somehow I don’t think Ren would want to know that stuff, or learn it from you, if he did. I think that’s something he’d rather learn on his own.”
Jakotsu laughed as well. “Probably. He doesn’t seem comfortable with me knowing stuff like that.”
“And that’s another example of how you’re both opposites.”
Jakotsu looked longingly at the river they were walking along. He was on his way back from a mission with Renkotsu and he was feeling very hot and tired. Ever since they had left the cool dark confines of the forest to travel alongside the riverbank, he felt it calling his name.
“Can we stop and take a break for awhile?”
“Why? We’re almost home.” The fire-breather stopped and looked up into the sun, shading his eyes with his hand. “Hmmm...” He looked back over his shoulder at the cross-dresser. “If we can keep up this pace, we’ll be home in time for dinner.” Renkotsu raised his eyebrow. “I thought you were anxious to get home to Ban.”
“I am, but I’m also hot,” Jakotsu whined. “And I want to go swimming. Aren’t you hot dressed like that?”
“How can you be hot if you’re running around half-naked?”
“I’m not half-naked, Ren.”
Renkotsu sighed. “It’s an expression, Jak. And while I am hot, if I don’t think about it, it doesn’t bother me. So don’t think about it.”
“But I can’t...” The cross-dresser pouted. “Come on. Ren, it’ll be fun!” Jakotsu’s frown quickly became an impish smile.
Renkotsu stood there and folded his arms across his chest.
“I promise not to flirt with you...”
The fire-breather sighed. “No, so let’s get going and stop wasting time.”
“You’re no fun!”
“That’s not what Sui says,” Renkotsu said smugly. Turning back in the direction they were heading in, he started walking.
“I know!” Jakotsu said as he hurried to catch up with him.
“What do you mean, ‘you know?’” The fire-breather slowed his pace.
“Sui said we’re opposites.”
“Oh...” Renkotsu breathed a sigh of relief.
“Yeah... I don’t mind talking about the fun I have with Aniki-chan, while you mind talking about you and Sui and stuff like that.”
The fire-breather nodded as they walked along.
“We talked about all kinds of opposite things.”
“Yeah. You know, like how Sui is very opposite all by himself and how me and Mu are opposites cuz I like men and he likes women. He also said we should try being more like each other.”
“Yeah! What if we tried it, Ren?”
“I don’t know...”
“Hmmm...” The cross-dresser fell silent as he thought it over. “What if we exchanged clothes?”
“What?!” Renkotsu stared at the cross-dresser like he had three heads.
“I thought if we dressed like each other it’d be easier to be more like each other.”
“Hmmm... while it sounds good, I don’t think it’ll work, Jak. First of all you’re skinnier than I am, so we can’t exchange armor. Secondly, I don’t think I’d look as good dressed like a woman as you do.”
“It was a nice try.” Renkotsu smiled. “It shows you’re ummm, thinking about a situation like I do.”
“Yeah. It was actually kind of cute...”
“Are you flirting with me?” Jakotsu asked and it was clear from his tone that he was puzzled by the fire-breather’s actions.
“Well... ummm, yeah.” Renkotsu held up a hand. “Before you get any ideas, I was merely trying to be more like you. I guess it didn’t work, hunh?”
Jakotsu smiled and shook his head. “No... but maybe that’s cuz we’re just too opposite to be like each other.”
“Probably... So do you still want to go swimming that badly?”
“Nah... We’re almost home and I miss Aniki-chan.”
“I miss Sui too.”
“I guess we’re more alike that we thought, hunh, Jak?”
Author’s end note: Next up is “P” is for Parenthood.